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Mountain High



There’s a lot going on this week, there’s snow all over the map, and the big chill should have receded by the time this rag reaches your grubby little mitts, so:

Discovery Ski Area wants you. If you’re in college, that is. Bring a current student ID to the hill on Fri., Jan. 19, and ski all day for just $16.

And the ageists at Lookout Pass give us whippersnappers more reason not to trust anyone over 40 when they offer $16 lift tickets to all Baby Boomers—that’s anyone over 40—every Fri., including this one, Jan. 19. If it were possible to ski in two places at once, nontraditional college students could really save a bundle.

In between ski adventures, take time to pay some mind to those large-eyed hunters of the night, the owls. Five Valleys Audubon presents a half-day field trip with Denver Holt, world-renowned ornithologist and founder of Ninepipes’ Owl Research Institute, which begins at 9 AM in the middle of the UM Field House parking lot. You’ll carpool to a location in the middle of the Missoula Valley and spend two to three hours outside, so dress appropriately and call 549-5632 if lingering concerns remain.

In a move that is bound to surprise no one, the Rocky Mountaineers have a trip planned for Sat., Jan. 20. They have agreed to take a coalition of the willing on a cross-country ski outing that starts at Lolo Pass and slides to the Lee Creek Divide and back again. Should the thought of such an outing tickle your fancy, call Fred Schwanemann at 542-7372.

With all the focus on skiing, one might be tempted to forget all about another ambulatory option presented by a layer of snow on the hills: snowshoeing. Missoula Parks and Recreation, with the help of Pipestone Mountaineering, presents a snowshoe clinic and trek at 9 AM on Sat., Jan. 20 at Currents in McCormick Park. The clinic, which is meant for those over the age of 12, includes information on snowshoe sizing, snow conditions and safety, with transportation to the trailhead and snowshoes provided for attendees. The $35 fee covers it all, so call 721-PARK to register by Thu., Jan. 18.

Lookout Pass’ Winter Carnival on Sun., Jan. 21, has something of a family orientation, with Family Fun Day and the Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest topping the bill. My personal jury is still out on the social implications of spouse toting, but you can get to the bottom of it all when you call 208-744-1301 for more info.

Moonlight Basin announces the opening weekend of their NASTAR Racing series for the public from Fri., Jan. 19 through Sun., Jan. 21, so get on over there if you feel the need for speed.

Big Mountain hosts the Northern Division Youth Ski League Races from Fri., Jan. 19, through Sun., Jan. 21, beginning at 10 AM each day. Billed as the “future of U.S. Olympic Ski Racing,” this event is set to feature more than 120 of the most promising young racers in three days of downhill Giant Slalom mayhem. They are in need of volunteers, so for the chance to earn a free lift ticket while ensuring the smooth operation of these events, call 862-2911 or just get to the third floor of the Chalet by 8 AM on race days.

In the interest of a successful 2007 big game hunting season, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is holding public meetings to gather comments on permit and license quotas and to discuss hunting seasons in general. The meeting in Hamilton will take place in the Daly-Leach Memorial chapel, 1010 W. Main St., at 6 PM on Tue., Jan. 23, with Missoula’s meeting one week later. I’ll revisit that one next week, or you can call 542-5518 for details.

Snowbowl kicks off their Alpine Evening Race Series on Wed., Jan. 24., so call Deb at 258-5260 for more information. Also at the ‘Bowl, the Trailhead sponsors a Telemark Evening Race Series that begins on Thu., Jan. 25. Details on that series await at 543-6966.

The 2007 Winter Special Olympics take place at Lost Trail/Powder Mountain Ski Resort on Tue., Jan. 30, and Wed., Jan. 31, but this week there is a general call for volunteers. While no winter sports experience is necessary, it certainly can’t hurt. Call New Horizons Physical Therapy at 363-2570.

Finally, outdoor shutterbugs have an extrinsic motivation to make photos: money. Moonlight Basin will award a grand-prize winner with $5,000 in their “Shoot the Moon” photography contest. The cash prizes for runners-up are nothing to shake a stick at either, and while it could be argued that they’re enlisting the public to hand over photos for their promotional materials, the money goes a long way toward ameliorating such ethical concerns. The contest closes April 30, so get snappin’.

And, of course, keep the mountains high by sending your outdoor events to:

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